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 Post subject: Trying to record
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:51 pm 
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The piano was tuned last week and I have been practising a lot since with some good results, though none is quite as satisfactory as I should wish, either because I always found out this note or that could be better or because the recorder played a trick, such as inserting a crescendo after the note was struck (it did it twice and made in the same place in two takes and made it sound like a bad edit!) and today I find there is a string or another which seems to be out of tune when the pedal is depressed (vibrating by sympathy, that is) with a most horrible resonance.

I still have the same seedy MP3 recorder, of course, so the hiss will still be there. I have been looking for a better one, but have only come across Zoom recorders. Does anyone have any experience of them? They were not very informative at the shop and I do not feel like buying another pig in a poke.

I did, however, manage to re-record the Rebikov I have on the site.I play it slower than I did before but gone is (in the words of the tuner) the Donald Duck sound that was so characteristic of the Geyer.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:59 am 
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Haha a recorder inserting a crescendo. Yet is that is what seedy recorders are wont to do :lol: I though I heard them all.
The Zoom H4 is a good machine some people here use it with great results. Stay clear of the H2, it's not good enought for music.
I can also recommend the Tascam Dr-2D.

The new piano sounds very respectable compared to the old one. A huge improvement. The recording is good but IMO painfully slow and careful. Rebikov's music, which is nice but not great, needs a bit more pizzazz. And you need to let go of the pedal a bit more.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:29 am 
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techneut wrote:
Haha a recorder inserting a crescendo. Yet is that is what seedy recorders are wont to do :lol: I though I heard them all.
The Zoom H4 is a good machine some people here use it with great results. Stay clear of the H2, it's not good enought for music.
I can also recommend the Tascam Dr-2D.


Thank you for your suggestions! I shall keep them in mind when I go next time to the shop. I have been looking for the Tascams, but it seems no dealer around here has them and I am not one to use the Internet for these things.

Had I posted the recording with the crescendo I am sure you would not believe that it was done in one take, without any editing to the music!

techneut wrote:
The new piano sounds very respectable compared to the old one. A huge improvement. The recording is good but IMO painfully slow and careful. Rebikov's music, which is nice but not great, needs a bit more pizzazz. And you need to let go of the pedal a bit more.


Yes, the sound is not bad at all, is it not? And all that for only an extra 10 moneys a month.

Having tried both speeds I do think it more expressive at a slower speed but yes, it is a bit on the borderline (I did do one which was too slow even for me and which I rejected.) As for the pedal, I am still getting used to the fact I can use half and even quarter pedal. Pedalling was one of those things that made me dump many of the recordings I had done over the last days.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:33 am 
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Hi Richard,

I think your Rebikov "Autumn Leaves" is coming along very well. The new piano creates a much better sound than the old Geyer. If I may suggest just a few things: First, see if you can differentiate the dynamics as marked on the score a bit more. Also listen carefully to the pedal, as there is a noticeable blur near the middle of the piece. For example, listen to1.19 to 1.39. (I know you're getting used to the new pedal which differs among pianos.) Another thing I would look into is playing "dynamic contours". That is to say, the melody often ascends, then descends. You could add a bit of crescendo. (not a lot) on the climbing part of the phrase, and then some diminuendo on the receding part. I believe it would bring out the melancholy mood a bit more. Throughout the piece I would suggest differentiating melody from accompaniment even more for a better balance. So, for example, if a portion of the piece is marked mp, I would do so in the right hand melody, but would keep the left hand at p. Finally, once you feel very sure of the notes, you could up the tempo just a little. That would serve to make the playing even more lyrical, flowing and more cohesive too. As I say, you're playing the piece well, but these subtle enhancements might be helpful.

The Zoom H4 has been around for a few years and gets consistently good press. It offers compression too. The onboard mics are XY configuration but capture the piano sound quite well. At the bottom side are a couple of XLR mic inputs so that if someday you want to upgrade to external mics for A-B configuration, you would just plug in your cables there. Sometimes stores discount the HR4, so that you might even find a deal.

Regarding that string producing sympathetic vibrations: Most often this turns out to be a damper problem. That is, the damper does not "mate" correctly with its strings. If it rests a tiny bit askew on the strings--that's all it takes, and the sound can be ugly too. Actually the tuner should have noticed that during the tuning and brought it to your attention. The fix is often just a twist on the damper to realign it. If you phone him, I know that as a matter of customer satisfaction he would drop by another day and time that's mutually convenient to regulate that damper. And, where he missed it, he really should not charge you, especially where he'll only be there for a few minutes. Good luck on that.

I hope this information is helpful.

David

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Last edited by Rachfan on Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:53 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
The Zoom H4 has been around for a few years and gets consistently good press. It offers compression too.
Yes. But as was stated many times on these forums, don't use that. Unless you plan to do absolutely no postprocessing at all and submit the mp3's straight off the recorder.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:22 am 
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Thank you, David!

It was a waste that so long was spent on a poor piano and that now I must relearn all pieces from scratch, but I am glad that now it is possible!

I am of two minds on posting. On one hand I realise that some work still needs to go in all these pieces, a work of interpretation more than anything else, something that before I never came to, as the great worry was getting the notes, though, as noted, pedalling and dynamics are a new aspect that before was simply not on the cards. On the other hand I would not like to have vanished after playing pieces like this one, that any twelve-yearl old (at least in Russia) can play and then resurface playing the Well-Tempered Clavier. I fear eyebrows might be raised and rightly so, so I believe it is best to leave some record of what I am doing.

The resonance is not due to the damper, because it happens when they are raised and if I change the pedal it goes. It seems to be a C sharp in the bass that is doing it. It comes when I play Chopin's Prelude op 28/7 starting from bar 3. Having trid yesterday to change the pedal on the repeated chords it cleared.

If the Zooms are good I will look into them again, being careful to avoid any that offer compression only, though at the shop they told me none of their models do that.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:27 am 
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richard66 wrote:
The resonance is not due to the damper, because it happens when they are raised and if I change the pedal it goes. It seems to be a C sharp in the bass that is doing it. It comes when I play Chopin's Prelude op 28/7 starting from bar 3.
Maybe if you started from bar 1, as supposed to do, it would not happen :P

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:03 pm 
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techneut wrote:
richard66 wrote:
The resonance is not due to the damper, because it happens when they are raised and if I change the pedal it goes. It seems to be a C sharp in the bass that is doing it. It comes when I play Chopin's Prelude op 28/7, (comma!) starting from bar 3.
Maybe if you started from bar 1, as supposed to do, it would not happen :P


:P

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:31 pm 
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Hi Chris,

Yeah, you're right, I forgot about not using the compression feature on the H4. But here's the good news: As you say, as long as one can submit it straight off the recorder, that will work so long as there will be no further edits. If the H4 will not be the choice, there are also freebee converter programs on the internet, and purchase converters are reasonably priced too (depending on one's budget of course).

David

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:39 pm 
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Hi Richard,

The only way a string can freely vibrate sympathetically, is if the string is "open" to any degree. Opening the string to vibrate and to "sing", and closing the string to any further vibration is the sole job of the damper. This would be irrelevant for vibrations caused outside of the piano, of course. The absence of the damper fully doing its job will allow that note to freely vibrate sympathetically. So, if you're certain that the damper is not misaligned as it rests on the string, then it could be a matter of damper timing. That is, when the damper pedal is released, and when all other dampers fall in unison as they should--except for the one which falls too slowly or not at all in the worst case--then you're back to regulating the damper again. If the damper seems to sit properly on the string, there are possibilities: i.e., the damper felt is too old and hard (no longer soft and pliable), whereby it cannot exactly conform to the contour of the bass string in order to stop spurious vibrations. Or, if there is even a tiny drop of hardened glue on the surface of the damper, there again it will appear to be sitting correctly, but the glue drop, having the property of height, prevents the felt from making full contact with the string, thus leaving the string open to vibrations. (This can occur during manufacture.) Finally, there is the matter of the damper wire that allows the damper to rise off the string and then to return to its string. If there is a defect or spot on the wire--very slightly bent or whatever, or otherwise impeding timely travel back to the string--then the sluggish damper could leave the string partly open to enabling spurious vibrations. If all of these causes can be absolutely ruled out, I'm not sure what the actual cause might be. At the next tuning, you should have the tuner check it out thoroughly. I'm sure the fix would be quick and inexpensive. Please do let us know the culprit!

David

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Last edited by Rachfan on Thu Dec 19, 2013 5:18 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:35 pm 
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Hi Richard,

I hear you on wondering whether to post a piece not exactly to your standard, or to work more to polish it before posting. The thing is, once a recording is out there, it's out there. My own modus operandi is to post a recording only when I believe that it's the best I can do, given my interpretation, attainment of musical intent, and handling technical issues to the best of my ability. But getting back to your question.... A possibility might be to post a piece in the Works in Progress forum here to invite feedback on solving problems or adding more finish to your playing, as examples. Then, after doing more work, post it in Audition Room.

I believe that in the eventual scheme of things, acclimating to the piano will come fairly quickly to you. Matters of interpretation often pose more complex questions, as you've discovered already. For example, what is the character of the piece? How should I project the emotional content? Is the phrasing shown in the score improved in the playing by rephrasing? Can the pedal markings of Beethoven in his sonatas be literally transferred to the modern piano, or must they be altered? Does the playing of a piece reflect the conventions of its stylistic period? What chords must be voiced for melodic content? How should elements of foreground and background be layered for the listener? For an unknown or forgotten piece, what will be the interpretation in the absence of prevailing performance practices? Etc., etc. So once the notes, tempo, sensible fingerings, dynamics, agogics etc. are worked out, interpretation becomes the paramount issue at hand. It requires a lot of thought--and often times there are differences in approach. I think of Catoire's "Etude-fantastique" I posted here. While Koji on another website gave us a wonderfully etched Lisztian sound, I wanted more of a complex Wagnerian sound. (Catoire was a Russian proponent of Wagner and his music.) Listeners liked both renditions, or one or the other. So there is always some subjectivity involved in making choices too, as long as they can be justified. Just my opinion.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:04 pm 
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Re recorders, I can recommend the Edirol R-09HR. It's in a similar price range to the Zoom and would be a reasonable alternative.

The piano sound has become more nuanced. You still need to experiment with pedal and touch - more dynamic contrast would be beneficial (naturally you need time to explore the possibilities of a superior instrument). I would suggest that you take a short passage, even a simple chord, and see just how pp you can make it sound in isolation - keeping the hands very close to the keyboard, minimising movement and with an attitude that you're almost stroking the keys, rather than hitting or pressing them. David has also given some worthwhile advice.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:16 pm 
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andrew wrote:
Re recorders, I can recommend the Edirol R-09HR. It's in a similar price range to the Zoom and would be a reasonable alternative.

I'm not 100% sure about this, but I don't think they make the R-09 anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:56 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
andrew wrote:
Re recorders, I can recommend the Edirol R-09HR. It's in a similar price range to the Zoom and would be a reasonable alternative.

I'm not 100% sure about this, but I don't think they make the R-09 anymore.


Yes, I think you're right - the Edirol site suggests it has been discontinued. But I think some places still stock it, and there's also the possibility of picking it up second-hand.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to record
PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:23 am 
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The only complaint I have about my Edirol 09 is the adapter cord. I'm on the second one (or is it the third?). The wires that join with the square box thingy are currently being held together with duct tape. But when I jiggle the wires and see the little light on the box is illuminated, then I know the wires are connecting and I'm good to go. Someday I guess I'll have to get a new recorder...

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